Country Cottage


John & Sue’s JOURNEY

The path toward your new home can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to –– not if you have the right guide. Here’s a closeup look at one couple’s adventure.

This home takes full advantage of the expansive bay views that the site boasts, with a majority of the home’s windows oriented towards the water, and opens onto a large deck. Being in the Northwest, part of the deck is covered with infrared heat panels, making it a prime spot for relaxing and barbecuing. The exterior is clad in untreated Alaskan Yellow Cedar which will turn a nice silver color as it weathers. The living room features a floor-to-ceiling rock fireplace with the hearth extending the full width of the room, creating great spaces for reading and storage. Through the use of car decking as the finish floor material on the upper level, the floor framing and beam structure are able to be exposed creating an inviting and warm finish to the overall space.

Features: 3 bedroom, 2 bath • Carport with secure storage • Covered deck equipped with infrared heat panels • 1,800 sq. ft.


This was to be their second home… a getaway. They wanted a cottage feeling, a relaxed atmosphere with a big open living space including a loft.

The client also wanted a second master bedroom downstairs in case they decided to make this their retirement home and age would prevent them from sleeping upstairs. But for now, it would be a guest room.

They wanted to use natural materials throughout the home with as much exposed wood as possible. They were very specific in wanting no drywall.


Traditional Home
Traditional living room
Living room
Dining and Living space


We designed the home with an exposed wood ceiling. The wood for the floor above was also the exposed ceiling for the kitchen below.

We placed large windows in the front facing their view of the Georgia Straights. This let in as much natural light as possible. So much so, that they needed very little indoor lighting during the day.

Instead of drywall, we used shiplap on the walls with a transparent stain to show the grain.

We used Alaskan yellow cedar for siding, leaving it unfinished, allowing it to silver with age.


Normally, we work with the contractor from the beginning of a project to assure everyone is on the same page regarding the budget.

But in this case, the client wanted the drawings first so they could get bids from several contractors. We designed the project, then they bid it out. This was a unique approach, but once a contractor was chosen, the drawings helped keep the project on budget.




Music room balcony
Living room
Open Bifold door to outside


Construction and other documents required quite a bit of detail because of the unique approach to the building, including special materials, the exposed car decking in the kitchen, exposed beams, and shiplap.






Permitting for this site was a bit of a challenge. We had to be aware of archeological concerns to be sure we weren’t disturbing any Native American middens, or other historical artifacts. Fortunately, there weren’t any.

Due to the weather conditions in the area, storm water runoff could have been an issue. We were only allowed 2500 square feet of impervious surface, including the house and driveway. So we had to get creative

We designed a rain garden to absorb the excess water. A rain garden is a recess in the ground that the water can drain into and then soak into the soil without sending it offsite. It was planted with native plants to control all the water. The rain garden was designed with a grid system strong enough to support fire trucks.

Zero Energy Livingroom
Stick construction
Shed construction
Country Cabin construcion


Construction went very well. The contractor appreciated the detailed construction documents, and we were very happy with their timelines and quality of work.








Construction: Janzen Custom Builders    Photography: Jim W. Smith